Nach-Denken über Eric Hobsbawm. Reflexionen über Aspekte seines Werkes

Professor of sociology, University of Marburg Boris, Dieter

In: Social History Online » Heft 12 / 2013

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This article reflects on some aspects of E.J. Hobsbawm’s work that seem to have been neglected in the numerous obituaries and assessments of his legacy. It also points out some peculiarities of Hobsbawm’s texts that contributed to the high esteem in which he was held the world over. Attention is focused neither on Hobsbawm’s famous trilogy about the “long 19th century” nor on his equally well-known account of the “age of extremes.” Instead, the article reflects on his lifelong interest in “primitive rebels” and his highly original discussion of “nation”, “nation-building” and “nationa­lism,” an ever challenging subject for class-oriented Marxist historians. The article then goes on to consider a number of methodological principles evident in Hobsbawm’s approach to a materialist social history. Finally, consideration is given to the ways in which Hobsbawm anticipated today’s enthusiastically welcomed “global history.” Hobsbawm’s probing of the interrelationship between past and present always went hand in hand with the impetus to actively participate in politics.
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